Hiles, David (2006) Narrative Manipulation of Images from the Iraq War. In: Narrative, Memory & Knowledge: Representations, Aesthetics, Contexts. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 41-53.

My personal feeling is that citizens of the democratic societies should undertake a
course in intellectual self-defence to protect themselves from manipulation and
control. (Noam Chomsky, 1989a)
This paper is offered in the spirit of Noam Chomsky’s plea that everyone
should undertake a course in Intellectual Self-Defence. Welcome then to
ISD101. We will begin with the observation that anyone in the UK who
watched the ‘breaking news’ coverage of the second Gulf war with Iraq, in
March 2003, could not have helped noticing that they were often watching live
coverage from a battle zone in Iraq, ie. unfiltered, unedited and uncensored
images direct from Iraq. On first reflection, this would seem to contradict a key
feature of Herman and Chomsky’s (1988) well known Propaganda Model -
that such coverage needed to be heavily filtered and controlled. I will argue
that in this new era of 24 hour breaking news it is no longer possible to control
broadcast images, but it would seem that with appropriate media briefings the
meanings can be ‘fixed’. I therefore propose an expansion of the propaganda
model, which incorporates Stuart Hall’s notion of fixing the meaning. This is
supported by an analysis of the narrative manipulation of images from the Iraq
war over a seven-day period, early in the conflict. This analysis supports my
claim that it is not the images that we see that matters, but it is what we are told
that they mean, that really does matter. This has obvious implications for
understanding the inter-relationship between narrative, memory and

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